More and more couples are foregoing the conventional wedding experience and creating a day that feels authentic to who they are as a couple. Eloping allows you to create a more intimate experience while not having to deal with all of the stress and headaches of planning a large wedding.
California is known for many things including its vast range of nature and surreal scenery. Hoping to elope at dawn in a cathedral of snow? Maybe backpack to the mountaintops and dance your hearts out under the stars? California has it all!
That being said, if you and your partner are hoping to find your perfect elopement location in California, we’ve done your research for you!
1. Redwoods State Park
If you’re looking for a magical place to elope while surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the Redwood Forest is your perfect location! Get lost with your partner exploring the park and share your utmost special moments under the beautiful towering trees. For more information on weddings in the Redwoods, check out this NPS page, or if you’re looking for some great places to stay in the area, check out some of these AirBnbs.
Want to experience a completely different world? Trek through a winding shallow creek while being immersed between two 50 foot walls of lush ferns. Although most of this hike has platforms you can walk on, but expect to get your feet wet!
Note: This place is ideal during Spring and Summer seasons
Tall Trees Grove
Hike through a majestic trail to get to Tall Trees Grove which holds some of the tallest trees found in the Redwood Forest. The park has limited access, which makes it an easy way for you and your partner to elope in a magical place filled with peace and tranquility.
Note: This park has limited access, and we can help you get your necessary permits to make this elopement happen!
2. Lake Tahoe
Whether you’re looking to trek through the snow with your partner or spend your time in the heat near clear blue water, Lake Tahoe is a great place to elope! No matter what time of year it is, the scenery in here is breathtaking! More about Tahoe here, and be sure to check out some of these great stays!
D.L. Bliss State Park
D.L. Bliss State Park is filled with possibilities for your adventure elopement! There are beautiful beaches, trails, viewpoints, and landmarks for you to find here! The park itself is huge, and it does get too crowded during the Summer.
3. Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is known for its desert landscape and Dr. Seuss looking trees. With its unique geography, this is the perfect place to rock climb and share your intimate moments with your partner at sunset! Here is the NPS website for more info, and you can find some seriously awesome and modern AirBnb’s in this area! Start looking for your’s here!
Cholla Cactus Garden
If you’re looking at eloping in Joshua Tree National Park, we’d definitely recommend checking out Cholla Cactus Garden. The area is only a short hike and filled with insane scenery that you won’t be able to find anywhere else! Here you and your partner can be engulfed in a desert filled with cactuses and watch the sun fall behind the mountains at sunset.
Please Note: It’s not recommended to travel here during the Summer due to intense heat levels.
4. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park
Hoping to have your adventure elopement during the Spring or Summer season? Burney Falls is a beautiful place to share your experience with your partner! The waterfall is 129 ft tall, covered in bright foliage, and the way the water flows off the rocks is absolutely breathtaking. This area has a lot going on and is a bit off the beaten path. Lassen Volcanic is near, as is Mt Shasta — adventure wonderland! See more here. You can find your dreamy A-frame cabins and tiny homes tucked away in the forest, or on a stream or meadow, here with AirBnb.
5. Mendicino Coast and National Forest
Mendocino National Forest is a very romantic place to elope! The forest itself is often described as peaceful and serene. You can find a diverse range of scenery here and elope in the mountains, forest, or canyons that Mendocino National Forest has to offer you! You can spend your day exploring the forests surrounding the lake, swimming in its crystal clear water, dancing around in fields filled with wildflowers, and getting married on top of its beautiful peaks!
And let’s not forget about the stunning coastline in this Northern California gem! So many great locations here! Check out the Mendicino website for some more info.
6. Big Sur
Talk about a rad place to elope, Big Sur is basically 90 miles of gorgeous and wild coastline in Central California. SO many cool spots along here, from rocky coast and beautiful beaches to Redwoods and mountain peaks about the clouds! Here’s a couple places to check out, and click here for more info about Big Sur elopements.
You can find all the amazing cliffside/beachside homes to stay in here!
Pfeiffer Beach is located in Big Sur, California. Aside from a water fall that falls onto the beach, there are beautiful rock formations with water crashing onto them that makes for a perfect elopement scenery. Not too shabby.
Garrapata State Park
Garrapata State Park is a beautiful elopement location if you’re looking for a unique range of trails, viewpoints, and scenery along the coast. You can hike through the Rocky Ridge Trail and elope at the edge of the overlook point, trek through the Soberanes Canyon Trail and get married next to a waterfall- your options for scenery and elopement experiences are endless here!
7. Big Bear
Big Bear Lake is known for its outstanding scenery throughout the Summer and Winter seasons. Here your adventure elopement can be filled with backpacking, hiking, or kayaking- your options are endless! Here is bit more on Big Bear. And be sure to check out all the cool cabin rentals you find here too.
**Bonus** 8. Yosemite!
Yosemite National Park is one of our favorite places to capture couples! It’s known for its breathtaking scenery including waterfalls, peaks, valleys, and towering granite walls. We both have experience living in and working in the park and are still discovering new scenery every time we visit! We love this place so much and couldn’t stand to end without mentioning it! And don’t worry, we’ll be posting a part 2 to California Locations that will include more stellar locations in the Sierra Nevada!
Whether you’re eloping, or just going to check out any of these locations for a weekend getaway, you’ll need somewhere to stay. All of these areas have campgrounds (some of these are really cool!), and most have some great spots to park the van 😉 (be mindful of local laws and private property (and please LNT!)). Camping not in the plans? Feel like a local and check out some of the amazing Airbnbs offered in these areas! You can click here to see a whole blog post on where to stay in Yosemite!
Stay tuned for California elopment locations part 2!!!
(too many amazing places to list in one post!)